Jazmin Kopotsha | Culture Writer | Tuesday, 21 April 2015

PayPal Is Developing A Password You Can Eat, Which Has Blown Our Minds

PayPal Is Developing A Password You Can Eat, Which Has Blown Our Minds

The Debrief: Biological identification could get a whole lot bigger and a whole lot weirder

When phone companies decided to put fingerprint scanners on our mobiles, we were blown away by how slick and cool we felt swiping our thumbs every 10 seconds to check messages that we defintiely hadn’t recieved. Now, feeling like you’re in the same league as secret agents like Halle Berry in Die Another Day, Angelina Jolie in Salt or Kim Possible (there aren't that many female super spies to chose from guys), is becoming a possibility for us mere finger-swipe-phone-amatures. 

A PayPal exec has been circulating a presentation called ‘Kill all Passwords’ (we’re guessing he doesn’t like passwords?) that outlines how fingerprint ID’s are old news and that he’d like us to eat, yes EAT our passwords. 

The idea is that we swallow capsules that recognise our insides and use our bodies as a way to identify us and then transmit that data out. I don’t know about you, but brilliant images of life in the future come to mind - chest bumping computer screens, rubbing phones against our belly buttons and straddling self-checkout scanners.  

These smart capsules would be able to detect glucose levels and other unique internal features, in a similar way to medical ‘ingestibles’ that already exist – like the ones used to monitor blood pressure and sugar levels in diabetics. And the body-technology identification collaboration fun does not stop there. Jonathan LeBlanc has also said PayPal were also looking into ‘wearable computer tattoos’. He even gives us a picture of something like a thin wireless silicon chip that can be slipped into the skin with heart monitors in his death to password’s presentation. Let’s just hope that if they ever did become a thing, that they’re customisable and able to sit somewhere a little cooler than Brooklyn Beckhams Beiber-esque Coachella tat. 

The ‘Kill all Passwords’ presentation also gives the lowdown on the top passwords of 2014. Favorites included the unimaginative ‘123456’, ‘password’ (classic), the ‘iloveyou’ for the romantics among us, and the desperate ‘letmein’. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan said that passwords are broken, which too be fair, considering the recent waves of celebrtity photo hacks – he may have a point. 

Just to clarify, though, Jonathon has said that PayPal isn’t necessarily thinking about taking on these fancy new body verification gadgets, but they’re ‘looking at new techniques – we do have fingerprint scanning that is being worked on right now – definitely looking at the identity field’.

UPDATE: A Paypal spokesperson has added 'We have no plans to develop injectable or edible verification systems.  It's clear that passwords as we know them will evolve and we aim to be at the forefront of those developments. We were a founding member of the FIDO alliance, and the first to implement fingerprint payments with Samsung. New PayPal-driven innovations such as one touch payments make it even easier to remove the friction from shopping. We’re always innovating to make life easier and payments safer for our customers no matter what device or operating system they are using.

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